Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
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Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
Miscellaneous Poems.
V. The Moorish Maiden’s Vigil
By Lætitia Elizabeth Maclean (1802–1838)
 
(From “Subjects for Pictures”)

DOES she watch him, fondly watch him,
  Does the maiden watch in vain?
Do her dark eyes strain to catch him
  Riding o’er the moonlit plain,
      Stately, beautiful, and tall?        5
Those long eyelashes are gleaming
  With the tears she will not shed;
Still her patient hope is dreaming
  That it is his courser’s tread,
      If an olive leaf but fall.        10
    Woe for thee, my poor Zorayda,
      By the fountain’s side;
    Better, than this weary watching,
      Better thou hadst died.
 
Scarlet is the turban folded        15
  Round the long black plaits of hair;
And the pliant gold is moulded
  Round her arms that are as fair
      As the moonlight which they meet.
Little of their former splendour        20
  Lingereth in her large dark eyes;
Ever sorrow maketh tender,
  And the heart’s deep passion lies
      In their look so sad and sweet.
    Woe for thee, my poor Zorayda,        25
      By the fountain’s side;
    Better, than this weary watching,
      Better thou hadst died.
 
Once the buds of the pomegranate
  Paled beside her cheek’s warm dye,        30
Now ’tis like the last sad planet
  Waning in the morning sky—
      She has wept away its red.
Can this be the Zegri maiden,
  Whom Granada named its flower,        35
Drooping like a rose rain-laden?—
  Heavy must have been the shower,
      Bowing down its fragrant head.
    Woe for thee, my poor Zorayda,
      By the fountain’s side;        40
    Better, than this weary watching,
      Better thou hadst died.
 
To the north her fancies wander,
  There he dwells, her Spanish knight;
’Tis a dreadful thing to ponder,        45
  Whether true love heard aright.
      Did he say those gentle things
Over which fond memories linger,
  And with which she cannot part?
Still his ring is on her finger,        50
  Still his name is in her heart—
      All around his image brings.
    Woe for thee, my poor Zorayda,
      By the fountain’s side;
    Better, than this weary watching,        55
      Better thou hadst died.
 
Can the fond heart be forsaken
  By the one who sought that heart?
Can there be who will awaken
  All of life’s diviner part,        60
      For some vanity’s cold reign.
Heavy is the lot of woman—
  Heavy is her loving lot—
If it thus must share in common
  Love with those who know it not—        65
      With the careless and the vain.
    Woe for thee, my poor Zorayda,
      By the fountain’s side;
    Better, than this weary watching,
      Better thou hadst died.        70
 
Faithless Christian!—ere the blossom,
  Hanging on the myrtle bough,
Float on the clear fountain’s bosom,
  She who listened to thy vow—
      She will watch for thee no more!        75
’Tis a tale of frequent sorrow
  Love seems fated to renew;
It will be again to-morrow
  Just as bitter and as true,
      As it aye has been of yore.        80
    Woe to thee, my poor Zorayda,
      By the fountain’s wave;
    But the shade of rest is round thee—
      And it is the grave!
 
 
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